Crash Bandicoot: Warped
|Crash Bandicoot: Warped
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment America|
|Distributor(s)||Universal Interactive Studios|
Crash Bandicoot: Warped (known in Europe and Australia as Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped) is a 3D platform game published by Sony Computer Entertainment, produced by Universal Interactive Studios (Activision Blizzard) and developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation. It was released in North America on October 10, 1998, in Europe on December 1998 and in Japan on December 17, 1998. It was re-released for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on August 23, 1999 and for the Platinum Range in 2000. The game was made available for the PlayStation Store in Japan on September 27, 2007, in North America on February 7, 2008 and in Europe on October 23, 2008.
The game's story takes place immediately after the events of the preceding game: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. The ruins of a space station called the Cortex Vortex owned by the series antagonist, Doctor Neo Cortex, crash-lands on Earth and unleashes an evil entity known as Uka Uka, Aku Aku's evil younger twin brother, who joins with Cortex and the time-obsessed Doctor Nefarious Tropy and they plan to gather powerful Crystals in their original places in time and use their energy to enslave the Earth. The game follows the main characters Crash and Coco Bandicoot as they travel through time and prevent the villains from gathering the Crystals by collecting them themselves.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped was universally praised by critics, who noted a high quality in many areas, including gameplay, graphics and audio. The game went on to sell 5.7 million units as of 2002, making it the tenth best-selling PlayStation video game of all time. In Japan, the game surpassed the sales of its two predecessors and became the first non-Japanese title to sell over one million units in the country.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped is a platform game in which the player controls Crash and Coco Bandicoot, who must travel back in time and gather the 25 Crystals from the previous game in their original places in time before the antagonists of the story do so. Much of the game takes place in the Time-Twisting Machine, which acts as the hub area of the game. The Time-Twisting Machine is split up into five chambers; only the first chamber is initially available. Each chamber has five buttons that open portals to different levels. The goal in each level is to find and obtain the Crystal hidden in the area. In some levels, the Crystal will be located at the end of a level or must be earned by completing a specific challenge. Some levels contain a "Bonus Platform" that leads to a special bonus area, where the player must navigate through a separate area and collect everything in sight. As no lives are lost in the bonus areas, the bonus areas can be played through as often as the player desires until the bonus area can be cleared. After completing all five levels in a chamber, a sixth button that opens a portal to a boss level will appear. By defeating the boss, the next chamber will become available for play. When all 25 Crystals are found and all five boss characters are defeated, the game is won.
Crash and Coco start the game with four lives. A life is lost when they are struck by an enemy attack or suffer any other type of damage. More lives can be earned by collecting 100 "Wumpa Fruits" or breaking open a special crate to collect a life. If the player runs out of lives, the game is over. However, it can be continued by selecting "Yes" at the "Continue?" screen. Crash has the ability to jump into the air and land on an enemy character, spin in a tornado-like fashion to knock enemies off-screen, slide across the ground and perform a body slam to break certain objects. These abilities can be expanded on by defeating boss characters, often resulting in more powerful attacks or increased jumping and running prowess.
Boxes play a prominent role in Crash Bandicoot: Warped and can be broken with all of Crash's techniques. Boxes contain helpful items or can augment Crash's mobility. Check Point boxes allow the player to return to a specific point in the stage upon losing a life. TNT Boxes explode after a three-second fuse when jumped on, while Nitro Boxes explode upon any physical contact. All of the Nitro Boxes in a level can be detonated at once if a green-colored box with an exclamation point (!) on it is touched; contact with this box is necessary in obtaining the level's Gem, as Nitro Boxes count towards the total number of boxes broken in the level.
Besides Crystals, Gems and Colored Gems can be collected for extra accomplishment. Gems are rewarded to the player if all of the crates in a level are broken open or if a secret area is completed. There is a total of 45 Gems in the game. Colored Gems are found in special levels and lead to hidden areas. There are five Colored Gems in the game. "Relics" can be won by re-entering a level where the Crystal has already been retrieved. To obtain a Relic, the player must initiate the "Time Trial" mode by touching the floating stopwatch near the beginning of the level and race through a level in the pre-designated time displayed before entering a level. Scattered throughout the level are yellow crates with the numbers 1, 2 or 3 on them. When these crates are broken, the timer is frozen for the number of seconds designated by the box. As no lives are lost in the Time Trial mode, the level can be played through as often as the player desires. Sapphire, Gold and Platinum Relics can be won depending on how low the player's final time is. The first five Relics the player receives unlocks access to level in the "Secret Warp Room". Every five Relics thereafter open up another level in the Secret Warp Room. The levels in the Secret Warp Room must be won before the game can be completed.
Much of the game takes place in the Time-Twisting Machine, which allows the characters to travel to different periods in time. The levels that take place in the Middle Ages are populated by wizards, rams, knights and frogs that transform into princes upon being kissed. The prehistoric levels take place in a Jurassic swamp and feature a Tyrannosaurus rex hatchling that can be mounted and ridden, restless pterodactyls and a gigantic triceratops that pursues Crash throughout the level. The Arabian levels take place on the rooftops and are overrun with swordsmen, scorpions and genies who seek to stuff Crash into their lamps. The Egyptian levels are set during the heyday of the Great Pyramids and are populated by mummies, pyramid construction crews, scarabs and cobras; in addition to the various enemies, the tombs are also overrun with traps. The future levels take place in "Neo York", a city under Cortex's rule that features laser cannons, robots, flying saucers, force fields and moving platforms. The "Lost Highway" levels, in which Crash pilots a motorcycle, take place in a 1950s America highway, where Crash must race against Cortex's hot rodders to win Crystals, avoiding construction barricades and cops along the way. The World War I levels take place in the skies of Europe and alternatively feature Crash and Coco as the player character. In these levels, Cortex's fleet of dirigibles must be shot down to obtain the Crystal. The Atlantis levels are split up into two different types; the first type features Crash as the player character, who must don scuba gear and find the Crystals in the Atlantean ruins, which are rife with sharks, depth charges and poisonous blowfish. The second type features Coco as the player character, who must ride a jetski and gather the Crystals on the surface of the water, avoiding pirates and water mines as she does so. The Great Wall of China levels feature Coco as the player character and are played riding on the back of a tiger cub while avoiding doddery pan carriers and Chinese dragons.
The titular protagonist of the game is Crash Bandicoot, a mutated bandicoot who must travel through time and stop Doctor Neo Cortex from gathering the Crystals. He is aided by Aku Aku, an ancient witch doctor mask who protects Crash from harm and gives him sage advice between levels. Also helping Crash is his younger sister Coco Bandicoot, who gathers the Crystals on the Great Wall of China, on the surfaces above Atlantis and in the skies of World War I Europe. The main antagonist of the game is Uka Uka, the evil twin brother of Aku Aku. Uka Uka was previously locked away by Aku Aku to protect the world from his villainy, but has been freed because of the bumblings of Doctor Neo Cortex, the antagonist of the previous two games. Aiding Uka Uka and Doctor Cortex is Doctor Nefarious Tropy, the self-proclaimed master of time and the creator of the Time Twisting Machine used to gather Crystals and Gems in different time periods. Other antagonistic characters include Tiny Tiger, a hulking beast who battles Crash in the Colosseum; Dingodile, a half-dingo half-crocodile hybrid with a large flamethrower; and Doctor N. Gin, a bad-tempered scientist with an unexploded missile in his head.
The game's story takes place immediately after the events of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, in which Doctor Neo Cortex's space station is destroyed by Doctor Nitrus Brio's laser beam device. Pieces of Cortex's space station hurtle towards Earth and crash into a tropical mountain. This sets free an evil entity known as Uka Uka, the mastermind behind Doctor Cortex's previous schemes. Uka Uka confronts Doctor Cortex and calls him out for failing to retrieve the Crystals and Gems, both of which are a great source of world energy. However, since Cortex's bumbling also managed to set Uka Uka free from his prison, Uka Uka felt a very great sense of gratitude and generosity toward Cortex. Uka Uka then recruits Doctor Nefarious Tropy to join them in their latest plan. Tropy has created the Time-Twisting Machine, a time machine that allows the villains to travel through time to find the Gems and Crystals at their original points in the timeline.
At the home of the Bandicoots, Aku Aku senses Uka Uka's emergence and orders Crash and Coco inside. Aku Aku tells the two that Uka Uka is his evil twin brother and that he was locked in an underground prison centuries ago by Aku Aku to protect the world from his malice. Crash, Coco and Aku Aku go to the Time-Twisting Machine, where Aku Aku gives Crash and Coco the task of recovering the Crystals before Uka Uka and Doctor Cortex do so. Crash and Coco proceed to travel through time and collect the Crystals and Gems, thwarting Cortex's minions (including Tiny Tiger, Dingodile and Doctor N. Gin) along the way. Doctor Nefarious Tropy is also defeated, throwing the Time-Twisting Machine into disarray. Having obtained all of the Crystals and Gems throughout time, Crash eventually faces off against Cortex in the Time-Twisting machine's core while Uka Uka and Aku Aku fend each other off. Following Cortex's defeat, the Time-Twisting Machine implodes on itself, the heroes manage to escape from the calamity whereas Cortex and Tropy are transformed into infants and along with Uka Uka are left to remain in a prison of time.
Production of Crash Bandicoot: Warped began on January 1998, with Naughty Dog given only 10½ months to complete the game. Programmers Andy Gavin, Stephen White and Greg Omi created three new gameplay engines for the game. Two of the three new engines were three-dimensional in nature and were created for the airplane and jet-ski levels; the third new engine was created for the motorcycle levels in the style of a driving simulator. The new engines combined make up a third of the game, while the other two-thirds of the game consist of the same engine used in the previous games. Jason Rubin explained that the "classic" engine and game style was preserved due to the success of the previous two games and went on to say that "were we to abandon that style of gameplay, that would mean that we would be abandoning a significant proportion of gamers out there." An arbitrary plane z-buffer was created for the jet-ski and flooded Egyptian hallway levels of the game. To create a completely fluid feel for the water on these levels, an environment map that reflects the sky was fitted onto the surface of the water. A real shadow was given to the Crash character at the request of the Sony Computer Entertainment America producers, who were "sick of that little discus that's following him around." To create an "arcade" experience in the airplane levels and to differentiate them from flight simulators, the enemy planes were programmed to come out in front of the player and give the player ample time to shoot them before they turn around and shoot the player rather than come up behind the player and hit them from behind. The Relic system was introduced to give players a reason to return to the game after it has been completed.
The soundtrack of the game was produced by David Baggett and composed by Mark Mothersbaugh and Josh Mancell of Mutato Muzika, while the sound effects were created by Mike Gollum, Ron Horwitz and Kevin Spears of Universal Sound Studios. Clancy Brown voiced the dual role of Doctor Neo Cortex and Uka Uka, while Brendan O'Brien voiced the dual role of Doctor N. Gin and Tiny the Tiger. Additionally, Michael Ensign voiced Doctor Nefarious Tropy, William Hootkins voiced Dingodile and Mel Winkler voiced Aku Aku. A small sampling of the game's levels were prominently displayed at Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo booth in Atlanta, Georgia. Around this time, the video game industry wondered if Crash Bandicoot: Warped was just more of the same of the previous installment. The release of Crash Bandicoot: Warped was accompanied by marketing campaigns by Sony and Pizza Hut. The Japanese version of Crash Bandicoot: Warped was one of the first video games to support the PocketStation, a peripheral that downloads minigames from PlayStation games. A playable game demo of the Insomniac Games game Spyro the Dragon is available in the final product and can be accessed by entering a code at the title screen.
Character and level design
American Exitus artist Charles Zembillas, who was a character designer and art director for the previous two games, reprised his role for Crash Bandicoot: Warped. The antagonist Uka Uka was created as a presence that would cause Doctor Neo Cortex to cower in fear. The emotion sketches depicting Cortex begging for forgiveness inspired the shot design and animation for the game's cinematic introductory sequence. Because the game's plot involved time travel, the time-traveling secondary antagonist Doctor Nefarious Tropy was conceptualized. Zembillas drew the first sketches of Tropy (and the doodle he created as Naughty Dog was describing the character to him) on January 22, 1998. Tropy's wearable time-traveling device was conceptualized early on in the character's design evolution and initially appeared as a belt-like contraption that featured a digital read out displaying the year Tropy intended to travel to. Tropy's piston-driven, smog-generating time machine was made to reflect his unhealthy obsession with time. The Dingodile character was conceptualized by Naughty Dog employee Joe Labbe, who requested a character that was a cross between a dingo and a crocodile. Zembillas drew the first sketches of Dingodile on February 4, 1998. At certain points, the character alternatively wore an aussie, had a "mop of scruffy hair" and walked on all fours. Naughty Dog initially wanted Dingodile to be a fire-breathing character before Zembillas suggested giving him a flamethrower to make him "much more interesting". The final sketches of Dingodile were drawn on February 12, 1998.
When conceiving Coco Bandicoot's companion in the Chinese levels, it was decided that a "cute and huggable critter" that fit the Chinese theme was needed. A panda bear was originally considered but was rejected due to its similarity to the polar bear seen in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. A tiger cub, Pura, was chosen as an alternative. When creating the triceratops chase sequences in the prehistoric levels, a minion of Doctor Cortex was initially animated riding the beast. Whenever the triceratops got stuck, it would thrash the minion around. The rider was ultimately removed for technical reasons. The Tyrannosaurus hatchling that Crash mounts in the prehistoric levels was drawn with chicken-like proportions by Naughty Dog's Bob Rafei. The shark seen in the game's underwater levels was one of Jason Rubin's first PowerAnimator models. The model was originally built for the first Crash Bandicoot game, but wasn't used until Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
The "time-travel-around-the-world" theme of Crash Bandicoot: Warped allowed the Naughty Dog artists to stretch beyond the limits imposed by the island themed setting of the previous games; each time theme has distinctly unique structures and color palettes. To demonstrate the effect that color has on the mood of an environment, level sketches, such as those of the Arabian or Medieval levels, were recolored to alter the depicted time of day from day to night. Naughty Dog aimed to visually distinguish Crash Bandicoot: Warped from previous installments by "opening up the environment" and allowing greater distances to be visible without draw-in or fog; to achieve the image of endless rolling hills and distant castles seen in the Medieval levels, level of detail was accounted for by introducing new technologies into the game engine and changing the way some of the background elements were constructed. The most detailed textures of Crash Bandicoot: Warped are located in the Egyptian Tomb levels in the form of decorative paintings. To keep the image of an endless highway in the motorcycle levels from being boring, roadside details such as cacti and telephone poles were added to the scenery. Additionally, distant mesas were added to help break up the horizon. To give the desert highway some character, full-service gas stations and diners were added to the roadside to evoke a "1950s America" flavor. The Great Wall of China is portrayed during its construction stage to add visual variety and provide gameplay obstacles. Initial ideas for the submerged Atlantis stage varied from an ancient Roman-esque city in ruins to a high-tech submerged city of alien origin.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped was met with critical acclaim. Johnny Ballgame of GamePro concluded that the game was "a very strong contender for PlayStation game of the year" and that the ""rowdy rowdy" gameplay will keep your head spinning for days." Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine considered the game to be "the best 2.5D platformer ever released." Ryan MacDonald of GameSpot said that Crash Bandicoot: Warped is "easily the best Crash yet," describing how all of its aspects were superior to previous installments in the series, and concluded that the game was "the most fun I've had with a 3D platform game in a long, long time." Mark Cooke of Game Revolution called the game "a barrage of good things" and said that the game's elements "all come together perfectly." Scott Alan Marriott of Allgame ("All Game Guide" at the time) considered the game to be "so impressive to watch that you'll have to keep one hand firmly below your chin to keep it from falling to the floor."
The game's graphics were lauded by critics. Johnny Ballgame praised the game's graphics as "incredibly clean" and "detailed", citing the water in the jet ski levels as "the most realistic-looking waves of any PlayStation game we've seen so far". Randy Nelson called the game "drop-dead gorgeous", detailing that "the textures are impeccable, the animation's top-notch, and the special effects kick some serious booty." Ryan MacDonald called the game "one of the most beautiful PlayStation games ever", citing the game's "smooth" character animations, "bright" and "colorful" landscapes, "gorgeous" lighting effects and a "refreshingly fast and steady" frame rate. Mark Cooke praised the game's "smooth" and "cartoonish" animation as "top of the line, bested by no other game" and its "limitless" rendering distance and "beautiful" 3D models as "the pinnacle of PlayStation rendering". However, he criticized the absence of death animations for the enemy characters. Scott Alan Marriott described the graphics as "unbelievable" and said that "everything is crystal clear, colorful, smoothly animated and extremely detailed."
The game's audio was also critically praised. Johnny Ballgame said that the sound "gets you pumped to play, especially the wicked drum beats that blare when you're charging through a level with the invincibility mask." He also commented positively on the other audio effects, such as "the boiling lava", "the raging pterodactyls" and the "zany movie voice-overs". Randy Nelson was thankful for the game's increased musical diversity in comparison to Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. Ryan MacDonald praised the music, sound effects and character voice-overs as "outstanding" and "extremely well done" and noted that the onscreen lip-synching is "almost perfectly matched to the voice." Mark Cooke said that the game's "over-exaggerated" voice-acting is "like those in good cartoons, and sometimes even better", and cited an "equally cartoonish" aspect in the music. Scott Alan Marriott described the voice-acting as "five-star quality all the way" and noted that the music "captures the level setting(s) perfectly."
As of 2002, Crash Bandicoot: Warped has sold over 5.7 million units worldwide, making it the tenth best-selling PlayStation video game of all time. The game's success resulted in its re-release for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on August 23, 1999 and for the Platinum Range on 2000. Crash Bandicoot: Warped was a bestseller in Japan, and was the first non-Japanese title to receive a "Platinum Prize" in Japan for selling over 1,000,000 units.
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- Naughty Dog. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. (Universal Interactive Studios). PlayStation. Level/area: Introduction. (October 10, 1998) Uka Uka: Free... at last...
- Naughty Dog. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. (Universal Interactive Studios). PlayStation. Level/area: Introduction. (October 10, 1998) Uka Uka: No one dares fail the great Uka Uka even once, but you, Cortex... you have failed me twice! / Doctor Neo Cortex: Great Uka Uka... it was that infernal Bandicoot! / Uka Uka: From deep inside my temple prison, I sent you simple instructions to follow, but you lost the Gems, you lost the Crystals, and I have lost my patience! There is now no other power source left on this planet.
- Naughty Dog. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. (Universal Interactive Studios). PlayStation. Level/area: Introduction. (October 10, 1998) Aku Aku: Uka Uka is free! No... it cannot be! Evil... great evil has come...
- Naughty Dog. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. (Universal Interactive Studios). PlayStation. Level/area: Introduction. (October 10, 1998) Aku Aku: After many eons, my evil twin, Uka Uka, has been freed from his underground prison. Long ago, I locked him there to protect the world from his malice. Now, freed he's once again: he must be stopped!
- Naughty Dog. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. (Universal Interactive Studios). PlayStation. Level/area: Introduction. (October 10, 1998) Aku Aku: Children, Uka Uka and Cortex plan to use this Time-Twisting Machine to gather Crystals that lay scattered across time. I have brought you here to recover the Crystals before they do so. To open the time portal, simply stand on a button and then jump into the portal. Good luck.
- Naughty Dog. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. (Universal Interactive Studios). PlayStation. Level/area: Warp Room. (October 10, 1998) Uka Uka: You insolent, insignificant morons! By defeating N. Tropy, you have placed us all in grave risk! / Doctor Neo Cortex: Crash, Coco, you must realize that this Time-Twisting Machine is very delicate! Without N. Tropy's constant care and control, who knows what it will do!?
- Naughty Dog. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. (Universal Interactive Studios). PlayStation. Level/area: Ending. (October 10, 1998) Uka Uka: No... it cannot be! Not a prisoner of time again! Aaagh!
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- Charles Zembillas (May 3, 2013). "Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 1". Retrieved May 8, 2013. "They're dated January 22, 1998. Right before the creation of Dingodile. These are the very first concept sketches for the time manipulating N Tropy. The first sketch is original art. The doodle that I created as Naughty Dog described what they were looking for. The ones after that are photo copies."
- Charles Zembillas (May 5, 2013). "Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 2". Retrieved May 8, 2013. "Early on I gave him a device that would allow him to travel in time. Something that he would wear. My first idea was to give him a belt like contraption with a readout as to the year he intended to travel to."
- Charles Zembillas (March 16, 2013). "Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Dingodile - Part 1". Retrieved March 17, 2013. "These are the very first development drawings of Dingodile who made his appearance in Crash Bandicoot 3. They are dated February 4, 1998."
- Charles Zembillas (April 2, 2013). "Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Dingodile - Part 2". Retrieved May 8, 2013. "At one point Dingodile wore a hat reminiscent of what you'd see in Australia... [...] I dropped the hat and tried a mop of scruffy hair instead... There was a moment when Dingodile walked on all fours..."
- Charles Zembillas (April 28, 2013). "Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Dingodile - Part 5". Retrieved May 8, 2013. "These are the last entries in the creation of Dingodile from Crash 3. They're dated February 12, 1998. [...] The flame thrower was added after ND wanted him to be a fire breathing character. I suggested giving him a device to do this as it would make him much more interesting."
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- Scott Alan Marriott. "Crash Bandicoot: Warped". Allgame. Retrieved July 8, 2010. "So impressive to watch that you'll have to keep one hand firmly below your chin to keep it from falling to the floor."
- Johnny Ballgame (January 1, 2000). "Crash Bandicoot: Warped Review from GamePro". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved July 8, 2010. "A very strong contender for PlayStation game of the year. Its "rowdy rowdy" gameplay will keep your head spinning for days."
- Mark Cooke (November 1, 1998). "Crash Bandicoot: Warped Review for the PS". Game Revolution. Retrieved May 10, 2008. "A barrage of good things. The graphics, sound, music, levels, and difficulty all come together perfectly. Naughty Dog has made Crash a much better game, something that is commendable when so many sequels come up short."
- Ryan MacDonald (November 5, 1998). "Crash Bandicoot: Warped Review for PlayStation - GameSpot". GameSpot. Retrieved July 8, 2010. "Easily the best Crash yet. Every aspect of the game is better: new moves, levels, bosses, graphics, sound, and gameplay. It's the most fun I've had with a 3D platform game in a long, long time."
- Randy Nelson (November 4, 1998). "Crash Bandicoot: Warped - PlayStation Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved July 8, 2010. "A drop-dead gorgeous game. The textures are impeccable, the animation's top-notch, and the special effects kick some serious booty."
- "Crash Bandicoot: Warped Review". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine (Ziff Davis): 40. 2001. "As some would argue, the best 2.5D platformer ever released."
- "Final Fantasy X hits 5 million, world quakes". Computer and Video Games. July 9, 2002. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
- Dengeki PlayStation sales chart, March 1999, published in Official UK PlayStation Magazine issue 43
- The U.S. official Crash Bandicoot: Warped website
- The European official Crash Bandicoot: Warped website